There are times when my enthusiasm for my farm share wanes a bit, and I let a surplus of some vegetable or another go to waste because I’m not really in the mood to deal with it before it spoils. This weekend was not one of those times. Yeah, I was a total badass about prepping mountains of vegetables (most of which I’d picked myself) for the cold winter months that are fast approaching, and frankly, I’m really proud of myself. I may have let 90% of my zucchinis this summer hit the compost pile, but not so this weekend’s overflow veggies!
I started on Saturday with a monster batch of tomato sauce. I didn’t bother taking pictures, because I’ve written about this process before, but suffice to say that I started out with heaps of tomatoes — a mix of heirlooms and slicing tomatoes from my regular share, San Marzanos and Black Plums from our garden, and Plum Dandys from my pick-your-own share — oven roasted them down along with a bunch of heads of garlic from our garden, and milled it all. That led to about 10 quarts of watery sauce. I added a handful of dried oregano (from the farm), salt and pepper, then got boiling. By the time it was done, and I’d added scads of fresh basil from our garden, we had some for dinner and then froze up the 3 quarts that were left. Yeah, it cooked down pretty far. But it was delicious, and will be a very welcome treat this winter!
Next on my docket was the overflow of hot peppers.
I had at least 75 of these bad boys, part of them from the regular farm share, most from the pick-your-own share, and a couple from our own habanero plants in the garden. My plan was to quickly mince them all during halftime of the early football game on Sunday and then freeze them for the chili I’ll be making in the coming months.
I outfitted myself appropriately — no matter how mild the peppers might seem (and since I know at least two were Scotch Bonnets and there were the two aforementioned habaneros, I decided not to assume any of them were mild), rubber gloves are essential. I have had too many incidents where, hours after handling a pepper with my bare hands, I’ve gone to rub that itch in my eye and then “AIEEEEEEE!!!! IT BURNS!!!! IT BURNS!!!!!!!!”
Then I got chopping.
I felt like I’d barely made a dent when I heard from the living room that my plans of being done before the second half started were totally misguided.
My efforts at de-seeding the peppers, to minimize any inadvertent inclusion of rocket, rocket hotness, fell by the wayside.
The third quarter came and went, and I was still chopping. The fourth quarter came and mostly went, and I was still chopping. Yeah, an hour and a half after I started, I finally had this:
Over a pound of minced hot peppers. And then this week I brought home 40 more from the farm. If I have to chop a single pepper this winter, I’m going to be some kind of pissed.
Anyway, I might have been getting tired of missing the football while puttering in the kitchen, but I wasn’t done. No sirree, there were still the six quarts of green beans that needed to be blanched, trimmed, and bagged up.
That went surprisingly quickly, and once everything was trimmed, it was much more compact, too.
Considering how often I eat green beans, I’ve likely just put off the composting of these guys for a few months, but in the meantime, I’m feeling very good about my efforts to make my winter a tastier, veggier place.